David Oyelowo Tells Sweet Story About Becoming Besties With Oprah And How He Thought It Would Offend His Mom

Oprah Winfrey and David Oyelowo as Gloira and Louis Gaines sharing an intense moment in The Butler

David Oyelowo and Oprah Winfrey have worked on two significant films in the last decade – The Butler and Selma. The two played mother and son in the former, and that bond seemed to go beyond the big screen. After working together, the actor revealed a sweet story about becoming besties with the TV personality and how his mom felt about it.

Having acted together on several occasions, David Oyelowo and Oprah Winfrey’s bond has become strong over the years. After losing his actual mother, their working relationship has evolved into a real mother-son dynamic. The acclaimed actor said the following on The Late Late Show about his special relationship with the media mogul:

Yeah, she’s a lady called Oprah Winfrey, not many people know her. She and I met playing mother and son on The Butler and she’s kind of been my Mama since. But she doesn’t love it when I call her that in public because she likes to think that she’s not age-appropriate mother. [whispers] She is! I’m gonna get killed, James, I’m gonna get killed.

Knowing their relationship formed on the set of the Lee Daniels-helmed film made their bond even more heartwarming. But of course, Oprah Winfrey wouldn’t see herself as David Oyelowo’s mother. As the Midnight Sky actor pointed out, she is the appropriate age to be his mother. I’m sure Winfrey sees herself more like a big sister or fun aunt, but it's the bond that counts.

During David Oyelowo's Late Late Show appearance, host James Corden asked the actor what his mother might think about his relationship with Oprah Winfrey. The conversation took a turn as Oyelowo spoke on his mother’s reaction to certain roles in his career. According to him, his mother had a different reaction to Winfrey playing his mother in The Butler. As Oyelowo explained:

You know what, it’s a funny thing. My mom, she couldn’t distinguish what’s real and what’s imagined coming to my acting… I did this film called Red Tails in which my character dies in the movie -- sorry spoilers alert for anyone who hasn’t seen Red Tails-- but she came to the premiere. You know, I’d done this film, I was very proud of it, I turned to her afterward, said, ‘Mommy what did you think?’ She said, ‘I don’t like this movie.’ I was like, ‘What do you mean you don’t like this movie.’ ‘You die. I don’t like seeing you die. Why did you die?’ I was like, ‘Mommy, I’m right here.’... So, when I got this film The Butler and I knew Oprah was playing my mom, ‘I was like, oh god, she’s gonna hate this. She’s gonna think I’m abandoning her. I said, ‘Mommy, I’m doing this film The Butler; Oprah is playing my mom.’ She said, ‘Oh! This is perfect!’

It’s nice to know that the actor’s mother somewhat approved of Oprah Winfrey as a mother figure. She seemed more delighted about Winfrey than any of David Oyelowo’s other roles. But who wouldn’t? It’s Oprah Winfrey! That makes the actor-director and the talk show titan’s bond even more touching given his mother’s passing.

Besides David Oyelowo, Oprah Winfrey seems to have bonded with many celebrities comparably. But given their work on The Butler and Selma, the two’s bond appears to go beyond just casual friends.

Adreon Patterson
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A boy from Greenwood, South Carolina. CinemaBlend Contributor. An animation enthusiast (anime, US and international films, television). Freelance writer, designer and artist. Lover of music (US and international).